The New York Yankees could have rid themselves of a major headache this year had they accepted an offer from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Ken Belson of The New York Times reports that the SoftBank Hawks contacted the Yankees after the 2012 season concluded, asking whether the Bronx Bombers would be interested in making a deal that included third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Belson writes that New York didn’t pursue the offer because the franchise knew that Rodriguez was going to need major hip surgery and that it would be nearly impossible to convince the slugger to agree to the deal. The Yankees clearly had fair reason not to decline any sort offer that the Japanese club made.
But imagine if the Yankees had pulled the trigger and washed their hands of the veteran third baseman?
Just under a week ago, ESPN reported that Major League Baseball was looking into suspending several players, including Rodriguez, for potentially 100 games for their involvement in a performance-enhancement drug scandal. Rodriguez released a statement about the report, which can be read below, per ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our Basic Agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As I have said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship. I am down here doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I’m back playing.
Sources also told Rovell that Rodriguez has hired David Cornwell of Gordon & Rees in Atlanta to help battle any legal troubles that he may face in the near future, according to ESPN New York. Cornwell, of course, helped Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun win his appeal case against the league a year ago.
Rodriguez, as he somewhat mentions, has yet to take the field for the Yankees this season, as he’s still recovering from hip surgery. Belson writes that A-Rod is still several weeks away from playing for New York.
The Yankees owe Rodriguez $28 million this season and a total of $86 million over the next four seasons. By the time Rodriguez’s contract expires, he’ll be 41 years old. If general manager Brian Cashman would have negotiated a deal with the SoftBank Hawks, Rodriguez could have been spending his late 30s and early 40s playing baseball in Japan.
Whether the Yankees would be in a better position to win a World Series championship with Rodriguez overseas remains to be seen.